This link has probably been everywhere already, but…

Standard

…I’m still working to a deadline and can’t afford to keep writing on new topics.

So:

Fat Hatred Kills, Part One
Fat Hatred Kills, Part Two
Fat Hatred Kills, Part Three

(And no, I’m not going to be publishing comments about the wonderful merits of weight loss, this is neither the time nor the place.)

Several years ago my gallbladder was reaching emergency level (early-onset gallbladder disease runs in my family, every woman on my mom’s side has had it) and a gastroenterologist refused to examine me even in a cursory way, and cited my weight as the only real problem. He got a nasty letter from the surgeon later, or at least as nasty a letter as a surgeon can get away with sending. And I’ve seen the same thing happening in terms of purely disability-related prejudice, both to me and other people. Those of us who’ve survived this are the lucky ones. Read the above links.

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods. Crochet or otherwise create constantly and compulsively. Write poetry and paint when I can. Physically and cognitively disabled. Anything you hear in the media or gossip is likely to be oversimplified at best and wildly inaccurate at worst, the only way to get to know me is to actually know me. I'm not really part of any online faction or another, even ones that claim me as a member. The thing in the world most important to me is having love and compassion for other people, although I don't always measure up to my own standards there by a longshot. And individual specific actions and situations and contexts matter a lot more to me than broadly-spoken abstract words and ideas about a topic. My father died a couple years ago and that has changed my life a lot in ways that are still evolving, but I wear a lot of his clothes and hats every day since he died and have shown no sign of stopping soon.

20 responses »

  1. Thanks for posting this – what a sad story. I’ve seen my mom avoid going to the doctor, when she’s really needed to go, because she was afraid of being scolded about gaining a few pounds. I’m in the middle of reading the book “Big Fat Lies” by Glenn Gaesser. People equate thinness with health, but that isn’t true.

  2. A lot of autistics seem to fall into the “fat as social sin” thing too, so I don’t think it’s a purely NT thing. I don’t get it either. (Nor do I get the “fat as ugly” thing.)

  3. I’ve never really thought much about fat-related issues — however, as a person who tends toward thinness as a result of genetics, I don’t generally think it my place to go around making assumptions about other people’s lifestyles based on their weight.

    I know people who eat less than I do, on average, and who weigh a lot more.

    And I know people who weigh far more than me but who exercise more as well — and yet, they’re more likely to get thought of as “lazy” than I am. It doesn’t make sense, and it certainly doesn’t justify medical neglect. I think that medicine when done right seeks to protect and save people’s lives first and foremost — even if someone’s condition IS exacerbated by their weight, that person still deserves the same care as anyone else. Sometimes I suspect that certain trends in health care aren’t really geared toward improving health care for all people, but rather, toward restricting health care to a fairly narrow range of persons who easily fit a standard model. People who fall outside that range due to weight, age (elderly people are often shortchanged and discriminated against as well), and disability are considered “too complicated” and more likely to be written off, unfortunately.

  4. People justify fatphobia by arguing that being overwieght is unhealthy. It usually is, but when was the last time somebody was ridiculed or made to feel ashamed and defective and unsexy for being a smoker? Or for working too many hours a week? Or for not wearing sunscreen?

  5. I know people who eat less than I do, on average, and who weigh a lot more.

    I have a friend who’s 95 pounds. I’m 195 pounds. Another friend is over 300 pounds.

    How much we actually eat, on the other hand, tends to have been in the reverse order than most people would expect by looking at us.

    I think that medicine when done right seeks to protect and save people’s lives first and foremost — even if someone’s condition IS exacerbated by their weight, that person still deserves the same care as anyone else.

    Yeah. My mom told me some pulmonologists utterly refuse to treat smokers. That just… errrrgh. Wrong. Bad. Won’t cause someone to quit smoking just to see a pulmonologist who clearly devalues their life as long as they’re a smoker.

    What really gets to me in a more everyday sense, though, is being around the weight-obsessed segment of female culture. Even in people I otherwise like. The constant equating of “weight” and “health”, as well as extremely prying questions/accusations/orders about my dietary habits (usually by thin people, of course), is just toxic to be around.

    I’m not sure they’ll even figure out which health conditions are truly tied to being fat, until they get enough fat people to study who (a) aren’t yo-yo dieters (weight fluctuation causes many of the same health problems fat is currently said to exacerbate) (b) aren’t terrified of and/or otherwise prevented from seeking proper medical care, and (c) aren’t barred from proper medical care by discriminatory medical practices.

    I’ve actually had medical personnel start yelling at me for being fat before — not even based on the flimsy excuse of “health considerations,” but because it’d take more than one person to lift me (this was usually during severe health crises where I was too weak to move). That particular form of grumble of “your body is just an annoying inconvenience to me” is one of the most toxic out there (and also encountered during a lot of other situations, the fat stuff is just coming to mind now because of the subject matter).

  6. I’ve actually had medical personnel start yelling at me for being fat before — not even based on the flimsy excuse of “health considerations,” but because it’d take more than one person to lift me

    I wonder to what extent issues of gender and different types of size (both height and weight) are in play here. I’m a tall-ish man, and – short of malnourishment – don’t think lifting me would ever be a one-person job (at least, when I was a care assistant, I don’t think I’d have wanted to lift someone my own weight single-handed). Also, while I don’t carry that much fat around, I do a fair bit of exercise and in part as a result am a fair bit heavier than ‘necessary’ – I could lose say 10kg and be a healthy weight.

    The fact that I’m bigger and heavier than many other people just because of my height and gender, and that even so I’m bigger and heavier than I ‘need’ to be due to the ‘extra’ weight I’m carrying, doesn’t seem to be seen as an issue in the same way as it is if someone’s carrying around a similar amount of ‘extra’ fat…

  7. I cried and cried after reading the links.The mom in the story is so much like me. I am fat, have had DVTs in my leg, and been treated misrerably by my own mom for being fat and by doctors who didn’t want to see me let alone treat me. I finally suffered a second DVT and found a wonderful specialist who assured me my clots were not caused by my being overweight, but by an inherited blood disorder that I got from my thin mom. I have been made fun of, treated like crap and dismissed because I am overweight. It is so hard. I try not to think about it too often, as it is very painful.

  8. I have gall bladder disease and “gout” and a variety of other “g” diseases all starting with “gastro” and often ending in “itis”…

    Well, I’m now starting to see a pattern here. If a doctor can blame a disease on fat/poor lifestyle choices (despite the fact I go to a fitness club 3-5x a week and eat mostly vegetables and am still fat due to hypothyroid), they can deny benefits to a patient. The insurance company will then want a documented 6 months *doctor* supervised diet program/exercise program. (literally?) and after that, they’ll disqualify it on some detail that wasn’t included in the documentation and all so insurancy companies and doctors can escape with the least liability and the maximum profit at the expense of the patient.

  9. I finally read the last article. I was shocked by some “stats” that I didn’t know. 80% genetic and 10,000 calories. I often feel like society is a death trap if you aren’t careful. I can understand now the main point of the series that it’s “Fat Hatred” and not “fat” itself that often kills…esp those who let others get away with that lazy excuse from their own ivory towers and pedestals. The best way to be healthy is to get rest, lower anxiety and if one gets that, then perhaps an enjoyable activity (not some gymn torture), ease of mind about eating, and not falling for that carbonated aspertame trick, not listening to any advise on the matter. Doing what you know is best for yourself and well-being. I don’t think someone can lose weight without well-being anyway. It has to start there and fat is in nature too. Whales have it, they live plenty long. So it’s not fat but really, it’s stress and anxeity from society and it’s nitpickiness and our work lives that do this combined with foods that are often horrid.

  10. It’s ridiculous to say that fat hatred is because fat is unhealthy, because people who are unhealthily thin are considered the ideal.
    In fact, the healthiest body weight is what most people seem to consider ‘somewhat chubby’.

  11. At one time I weighed 272 lbs. I currently weigh 172. I wasn’t “sinful” for weighing that much but it wasn’t good for my health. Considering my family history of diabetes (both sides) and my painful scoliosis, I know I made the right choice. But I’m not gonna go screaming “you’re fat go to hell.” I’ll also agree that when I was 272 often medical professionals would obsess over that instead of the health issue I was seeing them for.

  12. It would be easy to blame it on the crappy US health “system” but sadly it’s the same on the NHS (in the UK) too, in many places at least. Some are lucky but generally it seeems health professionals the world around sometimes almost look for excuses not to bother treating people… especially for people on the “spectrum” it gets difficult to communicate your needs against odds like that :(

  13. Body Mass Index (BMI) was pioneered in the 1830s by a Belgian astronomer who wanted to define “average man”. He believed that those who deviated from the average physically were more likely to be social deviants. The obese he reasoned had criminal or sociopathic tendencies: weight was an indicator of moral laxity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s